Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rafael Nadal's winning streak in Barcelona is ended by Nicolas Almagro

updated 5:28 PM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
Rafael Nadal comes to terms with defeat in Barcelona as his 41-match winning streak ends
Rafael Nadal comes to terms with defeat in Barcelona as his 41-match winning streak ends
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael loses his first match at the Barcelona Open in 11 years
  • His winning run of 41 matches and eight titles ends in quarter-finals
  • Fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro powers to 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4 win
  • In Stuttgart, defending champion Maria Sharapova reaches last four

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal's 11-year reign in Barcelona is over.

The world No.1 lost his first match at the Barcelona Open since 2003 as he was knocked out by fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals.

Almagro, a clay court specialist ranked 20th in the world, saw off Nadal in an intense 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4 victory lasting nearly three hours.

"I had difficulties in the first set and struggled with Nadal's shots," Almagro told reporters in Barcelona.

"I started to hit harder and play more aggressively as the match continued, especially when I had the wind in my back."

Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult
French tennis flying high
Teen sensation with the X factor

Nadal, who lost in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals to David Ferrer last week, had last been beaten in Barcelona when he was just 15 years old.

He had been invincible on Barcelona's clay courts, winning 41 straight matches and eight titles.

But Nadal was philosophical in defeat, saying in his post-match media conference: "I played better than him in the first two sets but I didn't make use of my opportunities.

"This is sport. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Tennis is like this. Now I need to start fighting and thinking about Madrid.

"I can only congratulate Nico now."

Amagro goes on to face Colombian Santiago Giraldo while Latvia's Ernest Gulbis faces Japan's Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals Saturday.

Nadal turns to his preparations for the Madrid Open, which begins on 4th May, as his next tune up for the French Open.

The second grand slam of the season, which the 27-year-old has won a record eight times, begins on 25th May.

After his defeat in Barcelona, Nadal paid tribute to the former coach of the city's football team Tito Vilanova, who died Friday.

"Tennis is just a game," said Nadal. "What really matters today is Tito Vilanova. I want to send all my support and wishes to his family in this sad moment."

Read: Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova dies

In Stuttgart, Maria Sharapova cemented her place in the semi-finals -- and the world's top 10 -- with victory over Agnieszka Radwanska.

Sharapova dispatched the top seed and world No.3 64 63 to stay on course for her third straight victory at the indoor clay court event.

Defeat to Radwanska, who was in Fed Cup action for Poland last weekend, would have seen her drop out of the top-10 for the first time in three years.

"It's a big win for me," Sharapova told reporters in Stuttgart. "Probably the biggest since my injury."

Sharapova was out of action for much of the second half of last season with a right shoulder problem.

Her semi-final opponent is Italy's Sara Errani, who advanced as Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a wrist injury with their match poised at one set all.

The other semi-final sees the battle of former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

Read: Nadal suffers shock Monte Carlo defeat

Read: Novak Djokovic to become a father

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
ADVERTISEMENT